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My Quest for Health Equity

'My Quest for Health Equity' cover image

My Quest for Health Equity

Notes on Learning While Leading

Reading this book is like sitting down with Dr. David Satcher to hear stories of leadership and lessons learned from his lifetime commitment to health equity.

Dr. David Satcher is one of the most widely known and well-regarded physicians of our time. A former four-star admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he served as the Assistant Secretary for Health, the Surgeon General of the United States, and the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before founding the eponymous Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. At the core of his impact on public health, he is also a lifelong leader for civil rights and health equity. Born black and poor in the deep South, Dr. Satcher was a victim of an unjust health care system: he almost died of whooping cough at the age of two because Jim Crow laws meant that his black doctor could not admit him to a hospital. That experience was the first of many that shaped him as a leader and a healer deeply attuned to social inequity—someone who was determined to make a positive difference.

In My Quest for Health Equity, Dr. Satcher takes an inspiring and instructive look inside his own fifty-year career to shed light on the challenge and burden of leadership. Explaining that he has thought of each leadership role—whether in academia, community, or government—as an opportunity to move the needle toward health equity, he shares the hard-won lessons he has learned over a lifetime in the medical field.
Drawing on his early memories, medical school days, experience in the civil rights movement, and professional highs and lows, Dr. Satcher touches on a number of topics, including

• the essential qualities of leadership
• leading from science to policy to practice
• the importance of clear communication and continual learning
• the need for workplace discipline
• confronting failure
• specific health issues, including the obesity epidemic, reproductive health, and mental health stigma
• team approaches to leadership
• and much more

In this book, readers will discover a template for using leadership roles of all types to eliminate health disparities. My Quest for Health Equity is a vital resource for current and rising leaders.